Cover photo for John Robert Gilbreath, Jr.'s Obituary
John Robert Gilbreath, Jr. Profile Photo
1949 John Robert 2021

John Robert Gilbreath, Jr.

June 22, 1949 — January 27, 2021

John Robert Gilbreath, Jr, 71, farmer and resident of Richardson Lane in the Southport community died Wednesday, January 27, 2021. He is survived by his wife Julie Hill Gilbreath, who cared for him through his long battle with multiple sclerosis. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Constance “Connie” Collison Gilbreath. John was born June 22, 1949 in Maury County and was the son of the late John Robert Gilbreath, Sr. and the late Kate Perry Gilbreath. He graduated from Columbia Central High School in 1967 and attended the University of Tennessee. In 1985, John was named Young Farmer of the Year for Maury County. He was a member of Glenwood Presbyterian Church until it closed. His love of the outdoors included farming the land that has been in the Gilbreath family for over 100 years, hunting and training his superb border collies, Sweep and Jack. He was known for his work ethic, preservation of agriculture and his humor. He is survived by his children Jennifer (Chris) Hillenmeyer of Medfield, Massachusetts and Julie (Andy) Crichton of Columbia; his grandchildren, Haydon Hillenmeyer, Sarah Ann Crichton, Constance Hillenmeyer and Perry Crichton; sister, Susan Gilbreath Erwin; sister-in-law, Teresa Vaughn Gilbreath; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his first wife and his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Clinton Gilbreath and niece, Bethany Erwin. Private family services will be held at Glenwood Cemetery on Saturday with Reverend Len Carrell officiating. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements. Pallbearers include Alexander Erwin, Andrew Gilbreath, Tony Hill, Danny Hill, Greg Neece and John Moser. Honorary pallbearers include his close friends Joe Horne, Billy Fleming, Burt Hewgley, Billy Cook, Gary McNatt, Jerry Brown, Dave Hall, Jeff Baker and Charles Hudspeth as well as his caregiver Deborah Bellafont. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Multiple Sclerosis Research at Vanderbilt University Medical online at or to Vanderbilt Donor Services, 3322 West End Avenue, Suite 900, Nashville, TN 37203. Condolences may be extended online at


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